McClellan 1864 Presidential Nomination and Campaign


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, September 17, 1864

During the Civil War, Americans relied on Harper's Weekly as their primary source of news on the war. These newspapers contained detailed accounts of the battle, and insightful analyses of both the war and the politics of the day. Today, they make for incredible reading.

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Rebel Flag

Rebel Flag


1864 Campaign

Abraham Lincoln Comments on Civil War



General McClellan

General McClellan Portrait

McClellan 1864 Presidential Nomination

Dutch Gap

Dutch Gap Canal

Jeff Davis

General Jeff Davis

Fort Morgan Attack

Bombardment of Fort Morgan

Civil War Map

Civil War Map

Ezra Church

Battle of Ezra Church

President Lincoln Cartoon

President Lincoln Cartoon






[SEPTEMBER 17, 1864.



WE give on page 596 an illustration representing the commencement of the BOMBARDMENT OF FORT MORGAN by the army under GRANGER, and by FARRAGUT'S fleet. The action commenced at daylight, August 22. The practice was excellent, almost every shell bursting in the fort. The Richmond, Brooklyn, Lackawanna, Octorora, and Monitors commenced the bombardment on the part of the navy, shortly after the shore batteries opened. All the vessels except the Octorora and the Monitors lay off and used only their Parrott rifles. The action continued all day on the 22d. A conflagration raged in the fort all night, and at 2 P.M. on the 23d the fort surrendered. Next to Fortress Monroe Fort Morgan was considered the strongest work on the Southern coast.


GEORGE BRINTON McCLELLAN, the Democratic candidate for President, whose portrait we give on pages 600 and 601, was born in Philadelphia December 3, 1826, and is now thirty-eight years of age. His father was an eminent physician and surgeon, and was professor in a medical institute of that city. Hardly had the infant been born before the distinguished surgeon announced the event to his pupils. Scales, it is said, were brought from the neighboring grocer to weigh the child. All the weights were placed in one dish and the infant in the other, but the child moved not. The doctor threw in his watch, keys, lancets, etc. ; but GEORGE B. McCLELLAN still outweighed them all. More weights were added, but the string broke, leaving the opposite balance still unmoved.

At the age of thirteen he entered the University of Pennsylvania. Three years later he entered the Military Academy at West Point. From this institution he graduated with high honors in the class of 1840 ; was assigned to duty with a company of engineers, and before the close of the year was ordered into actual service on the line of the Rio Grande. We were then at war with Mexico, and the battle of Monterey had just been fought when Lieutenant McCLELLAN reached his post. In January, 1847, he was ordered to Tampico to help in the organization of SCOTT'S army. In this campaign McCLELLAN and BEAUREGARD, HEINTZELMAN and MAGRUDER, KEARNEY and PILLOW, STONEWALL JACKSON and RENO, ALBERT SIDNEY JOHNSTON and JOSEPH HOOKER, GRANT and LEE fought side by side and for a common cause. Now these couples stand separated, meeting in the stern and bitter antagonism of civil war.

At the battle of Contreras McCLELLAN was brevetted First Lieutenant of Engineers for gallant and meritorious conduct ; for similar conduct at Molino del Rey he was offered the brevet of Captain, but declined it on the ground that it was not due to him ; but he earned the distinction in the storming of Chapultepec.

In June, 1848, Captain McCLELLAN was ordered to West Point, where he remained three years in command of a company of sappers and miners ; then he was removed to Fort Delaware to superintend the construction of the works, and the next year he joined the expedition, which was then proceeding to explore the territory of the Red River under the command of Colonel MARCY, whose daughter McCLELLAN afterward married. Promoted to a full Captaincy in the First Cavalry in 1855, McCLELLAN, together with Major DELAFIELD and Major MORDECAI, constituted a committee appointed by JEFFERSON DAVIS, then Secretary of War, to proceed to Europe for the purpose of studying the war of the Crimea.. In 1857, as the result of his researches, he published a report of the armies of Europe, and then resigned his commission in the army.

Having previously occupied the situation of Engineer and Vice-President of the Illinois Central Railroad, he was, in 1862, elected President of the Eastern division of the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad, when he removed to Cincinnati. Shortly afterward the civil war broke out, and Governor DENNISON, of Ohio, appointed M'CLELLAN a Major-General of Volunteers to command the contingent of that State, then consisting of thirteen regiments.

McCLELLAN'S subsequent military history is familiar to the country. His rapid and successful campaign in West Virginia ; his labors after the dispiriting reverse at Bull Run, in the organization and discipline of a great and efficient army; his appointment to the chief command in November, 1861 ; his disastrous Peninsular campaign—which has elicited more discussion, political and military, than any other topic of the war ; his deposition from command ; his restoration to the command after POPE'S defeat, and his important victories at South Mountain and Antietam, and then, six weeks afterward, his second deposition ;—these successive stages of General McCLELLAN'S military career. though many of them enshrouded in a great deal of mystery, are before the people.

General McCLELLAN'S next appearance is as the candidate of the Democratic party for the Presidency. The platform of the party which nominated him is only too evidently a peace-on-any-condition platform. It declares explicitly in favor of an immediate armistice, which will restore to the rebels all which they have lost, and whether the Convention of States which it advocates results in Union or not it still declares for peace. It says distinctly : " The experiment of restoring the Union by war has proved a failure." McCLELLAN'S exposition of his own views in his West Point speech is just as explicit in the opposite direction. He says :

"To efface the insult offered to our flag, to secure ourselves from the fate of the divided Republics of Italy and South America, to preserve our Government from destruction, to enforce its just power and laws, to maintain our very existence as a nation, these were the causes which impelled us to draw the sword. Rebellion against a Government like ours, which contains the means of self-adjustment and a pacific remedy for evils, should never be confounded with a revolution against despotic power which refuses redress of wrongs. Such a rebellion can not be justified upon ethical grounds, and the only alternatives for our choice are its suppression or the destruction of our

nationality. At such a time as this, and in such a struggle, political partisanship should be merged in a true and brave patriotism, which thinks only of the good of the whole country. It was in this cause and with these motives that so many of our comrades have given their lives, and to this we are all personally pledged in all honor and fidelity. Shall such devotion as that of our dead comrades be of no avail ? Shall it be said in after ages that we lacked the vigor to complete the work thus begun? That after all these noble lives freely given we hesitated and failed to keep straight on until our land was saved? Forbid it, Heaven, and give us firmer, true hearts than that !

Holding these views, it can not be doubted that GEORGE B. McCLELLAN has it in his power today, by a bold and Jacksonian announcement of them, and by a complete repudiation of the Chicago platform, to wield a larger influence in favor of the Union and of a lasting peace than is in the power of any other single man. That this position would, without much doubt, insure his succession to the Presidency is a minor matter; but it is of infinite consequence that the country be assured that whether GEORGE B. McCLELLAN or ABRAHAM LINCOLN be President of the United States there shall be no concessions made to armed rebels until they shall have laid down their arms and sued for peace.


WE give on pages 604 and 605 sketches illustrating General GRANT'S campaign. The view of JAMES RIVER given on page 604 is located just above Dutch Gap at the bend of the river. This bend is commanded by the rebel batteries at the Howlett House, and it is to avoid these that BUTLER has been cutting a canal across Farrar's Island, around which the river bends. Admiral LEE has sunk obstructions at this point to prevent the approach of the rebel fleet down the river.

On the same page we give a sketch of GENERAL WARREN'S HEAD-QUARTERS AT THE SIX-MILE HOUSE, on the Weldon Railroad, August 27. The sketch was made by a soldier of the Fifth Corps. Another sketch on page 605 gives a view of FORT HELL, on WARREN'S old line before he transferred his corps to the Weldon Road.


A SILVER thread among the hills, Gleaming down the hollows :

A babbling brook among the fells, In sunny pools and shallows:

A broad stream flowing through the plain, In the land of the fruitful West :

A river rolling to the main, Bearing navies on its breast :

And the great broad sea with its thousand shores.


An infant, with a tinkling toy,

In its mother's bosom fondled:

A chubby, bright-eyed, radiant boy,

On his father's proud knees dandled: A youth in learning's eager chase,

While Truth's broad scroll's unfurl'd: A. man with anxious care-worn face,

Bent 'neath the load of the world:

And Death's great sea with its silent shores.


A PIONEER settler in the woods of Canada has need to be a man of brave heart and strong hand. We had been five years on our Canadian farm, and we had "a frame house" as fairly fitted for two families as two flats in Paris one above the other, or two dwellings joining in a semi-detached villa. My eldest brother had the wife of his choice and two fine boys. We had thirty acres in corn, grass, fruit, and kitchen garden. This conquest of the woods made the two brothers next to the eldest very uneasy. They wanted a world to conquer, and I re-member when Walter, the eldest, now eighteen, said to my father, " Give John and me ten shillings each to buy axes, and we will never ask any more of you. We will give you a receipt in full for our inheritance."

"And may well do so, if you have your health and can fetch your food from home for a while," said my mother.

The result was, that the two boys started, each with an axe and a knapsack, for a place called "Thug's Hollow," ten miles into the dense forest east of our home. The tract of land, comprising a fine waterfall, had been bought by a man named Sugge, and he intended that his claim should bear his own name ; but he lisped and called himself Thugge, and ether folks called him what he called himself, and hence the ugly name was fastened on a very lovely valley which is now a beautiful and prosperous village, long ago emancipated from forest trees, beavers, blackened stumps, and its bad name.

On the mill-stream, where now stand the mills of my victorious brothers, Ben's beaver was caught in a box-trap. He was a baby heaver, or he might have known better than to intrude into the small room that became his prison for the bribe of a sweet-apple. The colony of beavers that had built near where the corn-mill now stands had been fastened out of their house, and all shot, by my brothers, while they were trying to get in at their own doors. It was a cruel and profitable job, for beaver skins then brought a very high price. Not one was left alive except baby Brownie, who was given to Ben by reason of his great love of four-footed pets. I went over to see the beavers' house, built of small trees, or saplings, which they cut down with their chisel-like front teeth, and floated into position in the water. The dam, as well formed as if men had built it, the warm dry rooms of the dwelling with their soft lining, the treasures of bark and bulbous roots for food in winter, all were wonderful to me. The boys had watched them at .cork for some days before they commenced destroying them. They had seen them cut down saplings to repair damage purposely done to their dam. They had floated

these to the place where they were wanted, and then, lifting the stick upon the fore-leg, as a man takes a burden on his arm, they had put it in its place, very much after the manner of a monkey. Many have said that the beaver carries burdens on his tail, and that he uses it as a trowel. My brothers were not able to verify these assertions. They were of opinion that though the tail may be used sometimes to brace the animal, like a fifth leg, or to hammer their work into place, yet that it is not used as a trowel or a raft. Perhaps the time they allowed themselves for observation was too short.

I took notes of Brownie for a long time, and he soon grew to be a big beaver and very tame. He was one of the most cheerful and affectionate pets in the world, and, though he ate bark and bulbous roots readily, his favorite food was bread and milk; if it was sweetened it was a special and delightful treat.

One of our neighbors was remarkably fortunate in finding horses that had gone astray. On being asked for the secret of his sagacity and luck, he said : " I always fancy myself a horse, and think of what I would want if I was one, and where I would go to get it." If I could fancy myself a beaver, I might hope to explain some of the singular doings of Ben's. He loved my brother so dearly, that Alice (my brother's wife) was almost jealous of him. It was impossible for Ben to separate or hide from him. On one occasion Ben left home to go to Plattsburg and Whitehall, on Lake Champlain. This lake is nearly one hundred miles long, and has many steam-boat landings on both sides : being at its widest not above six miles across. The beaver was left at home, but when Ben went up to his room at the St. Alban's Hotel, he was met by Brownie, who showed no signs of fatigue, and indulged in the most extravagant expressions of joy. Ben rewarded his attention with a dish of bread and milk, of which he ate about one half, and then laid himself to sleep on his master's valise, He changed to his master's feet when my brother was in bed. In the morning Ben missed him, and the remaining portion of the bread and milk. " Brownie has gone home," said Ben to himself, That night he staid at Plattsburg, on the other side of the lake ; when he retired to his room, after taking supper in the ordinary dining-room, there he found Brownie on his valise again. Again there was a joyful meeting, and an eager consumption of bread and milk and sweet-apples. This time there was none left for breakfast. Still Brownie disappeared early, and not until Ben reached White-hall was he again visible. It is to be noted that in all the distance traveled by this beaver, from our home, there was water. Brooks and a small river took him to St. Alban's, and after that he had the lake. The beaver is a poor traveler on land, and does better by night than by day. Much of the work of beaver colonies is done in the night. But Brownie followed his master by day, and made the same speed as the boat, and always knew where to land. The animal has powerful means of water locomotion in the hind feet : his tail he uses as a rudder.

Who or what told Brownie that Ben was to land at Whitehall I can not know, but there he was, ready to pay his ardent respects to his master's pocket for the sake of a sweet-apple.

My sister Alice had hoped when she married Ben to reform him of his passion for four-footed pets by furnishing substitutes; but he went on the principle of " the more angels in the heart the more room," only he read babies and beavers instead of celestial beings. I remember Mrs. Ben's rueful expression of face as she exclaimed, "Oh dear ! Brownie is a nuisance. He has built a dam in the parlor, of the fire-irons and fender and a music-stool. He has made a double-roomed house at the back of it with two ottomans, and lined them with the leaves of my last music-book. And then he has stolen my dried sweet-apples, and laid them up for his winter's pro-vision. But he is welcome to them now, for who would eat them after he has messed them over ! In-deed, Ben, he is a nuisance."

"We are all nuisances sometimes," said Ben, "beavers, babies, and grown men and women."

" I. wish you would speak for yourself and Brownie, and not for me and the babies, Ben," said Alice, laughing.

" Look at him !" said my brother, as Brownie combed himself with the claws of his hind foot, making his toilet as carefully as a cat or a lady. We all did look at him, and we all forgave his mischief, and admired his neatness, sagacity, and affection. All the world forgives the pets and favorites when they serve or amuse sufficiently to pay their way.

The end of poor Brownie was tragic, and no settler in Canada has been more sincerely mourned. To this day a tender sadness fills my heart when I think of him. He was mistaken by a hunter for a wild beaver, when the hunter was on an excursion with my brother in the backwoods. He was shot. Ben got his skin and had it stuffed, and to this day it is kept as a parlor ornament in my brother's Canadian house.


A YANKEE has invented a new and cheap plan for lodging. One of his lodgers mesmerizes the rest, and then eats a hearty meal—the mesmerized being satisfied from sym pathy.

An old gentleman who has paid some attention to small matters, says he always watches with much interest the ingress and egress of husbands and wives to and from the dining and drawing rooms of the hotels at the sea-side at this season of the year. "If," says he, " the wives enter and depart a little in advance of their husbands, be sure they wear the Oh-no-we-never-mention-'ems. If, on the contrary, the husbands take the lead, you may rest assured they take the lead in every thing else."

A young minister, in a highly elaborate sermon which he preached, said several times, "The commentators do not agree with me here." Next morning a poor woman came to see him, with something in her apron. She said her husband heard his sermon, and thought it was a very fine one; and as he said "the common tatters did net agree with him," he had sent hint some of the very best kidneys.

Hope is the dream of those who are awake.

The Dayton Journal states that Fernando Wood in a fine frenzy, during his speech made recently in that city, said that if by offering up his own life he could stop the bloodshed that is now afflicting the country, he would cheerfully do so. An appreciative Irishman in the crowd earnestly responded—" It wud be mighty shape."

A Dutchman was relating his marvelous escape from drowning when thirteen of his companions were lost by the upsetting of a boat, and he alone saved. "And how did you escape their fate?" asked one of his hearers. "1 tid not go in the pote," was the Dutchman's placid reply.

A Gascon nobleman had been reproaching his son for impatience. "I owe you nothing," said the unfilial young man. "So far from having served me, you have ever stood in my way; for if you had never been born, I should at this moment be the next heir of my rich grandmother."

"How far is it to Taunton ?" asked a countryman, who was walking exactly the wrong way to reach that town. "'Bout twenty-four thousand miles," said the lad he asked, "if you go the way you are going now; about a mile, if you turn round."

"I was never on intimate terms with the prisoner," said a burglar who was used as Queen's evidence against it "pal." " He was no gentleman. I've known him when he was robbing a house to drink a gentleman's Champagne and go off with his silver, without leaving a card of thanks on the dining-room table. He brought discredit on the perfesshun."

When is the mother of a large family like a ship at sea? —When she's upset by a squall.

Why is there no occasion for a flute-player to go to Germany for his health?—Because he can stay at home and breathe a German air.

The clergyman who " came to a head" in his discourse was much disappointed to find no brains in it.

" I can't say I admire your style of acting," said a land-lady to a strolling player when she caught him stealing the spoons.

Boys on land often play the game of pitch and toss. When at sea, still oftener.

NAUTICAL CONJURING.-- keep a Sailor's Log-Book properly is considered to be the Art of Ledger-de-Hain.

"Is my wife out of spirit?" said John, with a sigh, As her voice of a tempest gave warning.

"Quite out, Sir, indeed," said her maid in reply,
" For she finished the bottle this morning."

An Irish gentleman, parting with a lazy servant-woman, was asked, with respect to her industry, whether she was what is termed afraid of work. "Oh ! not at ail," said he, "not at all; she'll frequently lie down and fail asleep by the very side of it." ,

"Sir," said a barber to an attorney who was passing his door, "will you tell me if this is a good half sovereign?" The lawyer, pronouncing the piece good, deposited it in his pocket, adding, with gravity, "If you'll send your lad to my office I'll return the three and fonrpence,"

A mechanic his labor will often discard,

If the rate of his pay he dislikes;

But a clock—and its case is uncommonly hard—Will continue to work though it strikes!

A certain young clergyman, modest almost to bashfulness, was once asked by a country apothecary, of it contrary character, in a public and crowded assembly, and in a tone of voice sufficient to catch the attention of the whole company, "How it happened that the patriarchs lived to such extreme old age?" To which question the clergyman replied, "Perhaps they took no physic."

Franklin was once asked, "What is the use of your discovery of atmospheric electricity?" The philosopher answered the question by another, " What is the use of a new-born infant ?"

A painter who was well acquainted with the dire effects of law had to represent two men—one who had gained a lawsuit, and another who had lost one. He painted the former with a shirt on, and the latter naked.

Coleman, the dramatist, was asked Ube knew Theodore Hook. "Yes," replied the wit; "Hook and Eye are old associates."   

A gentleman asked a friend, in a very knowing manner, " Pray, did you ever see a cat-fish ?" "No," was the response, " but I've seen a rope-walk."

"Well, neighbor, what's the news this morning?" said a gentleman to a friend. "I have just bought a sack of flour for a poor woman." "Just like you! Whom have you made so happy by your charity this time?" "My wife."

" What's in your mind et no one know,

Nor to a friend a secret show :

For when your friend becomes your foe,

Then all the world your secrets know."

" The British Empire, Sir," exclaimed an orator, "is one on which the sun never sets." "And one," replied an auditor, "in which the tax-gatherer never goes to bed."

Some persons can neither stir hand nor foot without making it clear they are thinking of themselves, and laying little traps for approbation.

A scholar having fallen into the hands of robbers was fastened to a tree, and left so nearly a whole day, till one came and unloosed him. " Now," says he, "the old adege must be false, which saith that the tide tarrieth for no man."

A lady, whose fondness for generous living had given her a flushed face and rubicund nose, t mite ml Dr. Cheyne. Upon surveying herself in the grass she exclaimed, "Where, in the name of wonder, Doctor, did I get such a nose as this?" "Out of the decanter, madam," replied the Doctor.

A traveler, when asked whether in his youth le had gone through Euclid, was not quite sure, but he thought it was a small village between Wigan and Preston.

A gentleman at a musical party asked a friend, in a whisper, "How he should stir the fire without interrupting the music." "Between the bars," replied the friend.

A traveler relating his adventures, told the company that he and his servants had made fifty will Arabs run; which startling them, he observed, that there was no great -matter in it; " For,” says he, "we ran, and they ran after us."

Mrs. Bray relates the following of a Devonshire physician, happily named Vial, who was a desperate lover of whist : One evening, in the midst of a deal, t he doctor fell off his chair in a fit. Consternation seized on the company. Was he alive or dead? At length he showed signs of life, and, retaining the last fond idea which had possessed him at the moment he fell into the fit, he exclaimed, " What is trumps ?

Mr. Smith passed a pork-shop the other day—Mr. Smith whistled. The moment he did this every sausage wagged its tail." As a note to this, we would mention that the day before he lost a Newfoundland dog that weighed sixty-eight pounds.

An Irishman once ordered a painter to draw his picture, and to represent him standina behind is tree.




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